Odd Quebec Election Campaign Slogan

PLQ_Poster

The Quebec Liberal Party finds itself trailing in early election campaign polls. While other parties try to tap into the Liberal’s traditional Anglophone support, I suspect these attempts will fail. Yet I find the English version of the party’s slogan, “To make life easier for Quebecers” somewhat odd.

By all means make things better, stronger, healthier, wealthier, for Quebecers. But we really don’t require things to be easy.

I get the gist of it. Perhaps it’s just the translation from the French “Pour facilter la vie des Québécois” but the idea of making things easier sounds to me as if the party considers Quebecers to be a bunch of lazy simpletons who can’t handle difficult things.

By all means make things better, stronger, healthier, wealthier, for Quebecers. But we really don’t require things to be easy.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Montreal Traffic Snarls Could be the Things of Legend

If you have been in Montreal recently or have read this blog post, you are no doubt aware that the city is in the midst of a huge infrastructure replacement project. This is the sort of thing that many cities have to undergo as roads and highways age and crumble. Inconvenient for sure, but necessary to ensure public safety and improve transit.

… owing to the infrastructure work BOTH entrances to the highway are closed. For two weeks? Two months? Nope, two years.

Poor road conditions and the Montreal Canadiens are the things of legend around here. Tonight the Canadiens host the New Jersey Devils at the BELL Centre. When the team moved from its beloved Montreal Forum, recognizing the need for a significantly larger building, they took up residence in a brand new arena that was then called the Molson Centre. I assume that prior to putting a shovel in the ground, many factors were taken into consideration by planning commissions and various government agencies, including easy access to highways without having to drive across town.

Upon leaving the indoor parking at the BELL Centre, and paying the king’s ransom they charge, motorists are a mere block from an entrance to a major west-bound highway. Should you be fortunate enough to have found a parking spot downtown, a drive of four or five blocks will get you to another entrance to the highway. Well planned indeed.

Except for one thing; owing to the infrastructure work BOTH entrances to the highway are closed. For two weeks? Two months? Nope, two years. For the next 24 months both entrances will be closed to traffic. A single temporary point of access to an interim highway is located a few kilometres from the arena.

…but a whole whack of them will attempt to gain access to the west-bound highway amidst snow removal operations and major road re-construction. The mayhem could be epic in proportion. Stay tuned!

On Tuesday the city was blanketed with the first significant snowfall. Some 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) of snow fell over a 24-hour period; then today the temperature has plummeted to – 25 degrees turning the fluffy snow rock-hard and making driving tricky.

So sometime around 10:15 tonight, 23,000 fans – hopefully very happy, celebrating a home team victory – will emerge from the BELL Centre. Many will hop on the Metro or take a bus. Some will make their way to a bar or restaurant, but a whole whack of them will attempt to gain access to the west-bound highway amidst snow removal operations and major road re-construction. The mayhem could be epic in proportion. Stay tuned!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Season’s Greetings Bonjour-Hi

Weil

It’s the funny season again. As in the Season’s Greetings debate. As fellow blogger Marilyn Armstrong at Serendipity has pointed out, it was never illegal to say Merry Christmas. Some folks, myself among them, find the all-inclusive Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays phrases work well when addressing a group of people comprised of a variety of religious backgrounds. But saying Merry Christmas really can’t be construed as negative; I don’t celebrate either holiday, but if someone wishes me Happy Hanukkah or Happy Diwali, I certainly am not offended.

They felt that by allowing this bilingual greeting some may sense that Montreal is a bilingual city, (shhh, don’t tell anyone, but it is) not a solely French one.

Here in Québec, we have our own silly debate taking place in the form of Bonjour Hi. In the city of Montreal, it has become something of a tradition for store employees to address customers by saying Bonjour Hi as a means of determining in which language the conversion should proceed. Couldn’t be simpler, could it? What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the pro-sovereignty Parti Québécois (PQ) opposition party got its hackles up over the use of the English word Hi. They felt that by allowing this bilingual greeting some may sense that Montreal is a bilingual city, (shhh, don’t tell anyone, but it is) not a solely French one. Perish the thought that a storekeeper should want to provide good customer service.

The PQ went so far as to introduce a motion, not a law, to encourage the use of the single French Bonjour greeting. The motion passed unanimously, including those members who represent primarily English-speaking constituents. Many of those constituents were less than pleased that their elected officials voted for a motion that evidently pointedly omitted their language.

One such representative, Kathleen Weil, who was recently named Ministre responsible des Relations avec les Québécois de langue anglaise – the minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers – said we had all misunderstood the vote. Given the backlash on social media, I suspect it may be more accurate to suggest the elected officials did not understand their constituents.

Evidently, the gorge between linguistic groups is narrower than the one between the English-speaking community and its elected representatives.

Regardless of motion, legislation or advertising slogan, why would those elected to represent large numbers of English-speakers think that voting in favour of something focused on the eradication of their language would be met with anything but piles of scorn, calls for resignation, and disgust?

Fortunately the store employees in Montreal, and I bet a few in Quebec City, stores are still using Bonjour Hi. Evidently, the gorge between linguistic groups is narrower than the one between the English-speaking community and its elected representatives.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

In Montreal It’s Bonjour-Hi

Hi

You might think that a city that can and does function in two languages would be a benefit. Particularly when that city is located less than 100 miles from the United States. Montreal is just such a city, offering tourists a real taste of a French-speaking city with the comfort of being understood in English.

Just about perfect you might say. Who could possibly find fault with the concept of store clerks, wait staff, cab drivers and just plain folks greeting one another with Bonjour-Hi? This little couplet has become an unofficial motto for Montreal, one that some see as a welcoming means of determining in which language to continue the discourse, while others deem it an irritant.

The opposition Parti-Québécois wants to pass a motion declaring the use of Bonjour-Hi an irritant. This party would like to see English usage in Montreal eradicated. Instead of embracing the bilingual nature of the city, they push their heads into the sand and refuse to see the positive side of the coin. When it comes to the language debate, Quebec politics turns zoo-like in a hurry.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

For God’s Sake Stop Texting and MOVE!

Recently the Québec highway safety code was tweaked to make it an offence to text while driving. I wouldn’t have thought that would be necessary, considering the level of stupidity required to attempt to look at and type on a mobile device instead of concentrating on driving. But the new law makes it an offence not only to text while the vehicle is moving but also when stopped at a red light. This should cut down on drivers who do not pay attention to the traffic light and therefore do not move once the light turns green. They seem to rely on the horn-tooting of those behind them to put down (hopefully) the phone and start driving.

According to the law:

No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function. […] [A] driver who is holding a hand-held device that includes a telephone function is presumed to be using the device.

Simply holding a cell phone in your hand, for any reason, while driving a road vehicle is illegal.

What does “while driving” mean?

  • If you are at the wheel of a road vehicle in a traffic lane, you are driving.
  • Even when you are stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic, you are driving!

If it is such a danger to text while driving; and I agree wholeheartedly that it is, what can we expect when all cars, not just fancy expensive ones, come equipped with wi-fi enabled dashboard screens?

Car_Google

I believe the time has come for a similar regulation for pedestrians. Montrealers tend to be scofflaws when it comes to crossing against a red light. When there is a group of people waiting for the light to change to green, it usually means a) there are too many passing cars to cross, b) it is the annual police cash-grab crackdown on jaywalking or c) those waiting are out-of-town tourists.

Harpo

Harpo Marx and his horn

While waiting for the green light many folks take advantage of the chance to check their mobile devices. I have noticed that the same phenomenon found while driving is now common at street corners. When the light does turn green, many people do not notice and therefore do not move. On several occasions I have bumped into a person who is standing and staring at their phone instead of walking, putting into possible peril my nose and front teeth. Some have the gall to imply that I have done something wrong!

I have considered carrying a Harpo Marx style horn to politely toot when those in front of me zone out and tie up pedestrian traffic. (To be honest, I wanted to get one of those aerosol can air horns, but feared the potential for cardiac arrest, leading charges of homicide.)

I am all in favour of pedestrians leaving their cars at home to go downtown, but for God’s sake walk when you’re supposed to or stay home!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

More Montreal Uber Reaction

Taxi

A few days ago I wrote a witty post about the Uber ride-sharing opting to leave Quebec unless certain regulations were dropped. It seems the government is going to stick to its guns and consider all those taxi drivers who paid a fortune for a license.

imageI have often heard the term entitled used to refer to millennials. I never really understood what was meant until today. In today’s Montreal Gazette there is a letter to the editor that makes it more evident to me. The writer, while not divulging their age, says that the government is more interested in protecting the ‘outdated’ taxi lobby than in welcoming a new entity that young folks like.

Could it be that the government is interested in protecting those citizens who drive taxis and have paid for that right over a group of scofflaws who want to jump the line? Could it be that the letter writer feels entitled to buck the system because he does not like it?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Good Riddance to Uber

No_Uber

Yesterday the ride-sharing company Uber announced it will cease operations in Quebec next month unless the government lifts the 35-hour training requirement. For the last year, the company has been operating on a trial basis that expires in October. Obviously, it is no coincidence that the service will call it quits at that time.

When the company first arrived here there was significant backlash from taxi companies and drivers. Quebec is a highly regulated province: from government-controlled liquor sales to restrictions on residential rental units. It has been like this for as long as I can remember.

Taxi licenses here are very expensive. There is a finite number of them and, much like a house, they are sold for whatever the market says is the going price. Like teachers and other professionals, taxi drivers must pass a police background check as well as strict periodic inspections. Uber tried to bypass all this. They tried to jump the line.

Their ‘business model’ does not fit with Quebec‘s regulated taxi system. Having never used Uber I won’t miss them,

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Karla Homolka’s Children Are Innocent

Convicted killer Karla Homolka in Montreal, on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. DAVE SIDAWAY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

There has been a very heated debate in Montreal over the last few days. To get an idea of just how emotional this has become requires a bit of background. The person at the eye of the storm is one Karla Homolka, a convicted sex murderer. Well, sort of convicted.

When she was married to Paul Bernardo the two of them raped and murdered three young girls, one Homolka’s younger sister. Needless to say the country was rocked by news of these heinous crimes, however the Crown prosecutor, was concerned that a lack of evidence may be a problem in getting a conviction.

While most people rightly call her a monster, there are three innocent children who call her mom.

Believing Bernardo to be the main culprit, the crown struck a deal with Homolka whereby she would plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, receive a twelve-year sentence, and provide the Crown with enough evidence to put Bernardo away for life for murder. People were irate not only when the deal was made known, but when a video later emerged proving Homolka was just as involved in the crimes as was her husband.

Now Homolka has served her time, left prison, married her lawyer’s wealthy brother and, after a time in a halfway house left Montreal for a tropical home. Now she is back. Her kids attend a private Christian school in a residential area. It has recently been discovered that she has volunteered at the school, and has even brought her dog for show and tell. Just a great mother.

Not surprisingly the media have gone into overdrive and have been lurking about outside the school for a glimpse and a photo. People are outraged that this person is involved with children. In response the school issued a statement saying Homolka will no longer be allowed to volunteer with children.

Fine and dandy.

Is it acceptable to have a phalanx of photographers and journalists, to say nothing of jeering neighbours, waiting for her and her children at the school?

But lost in the frenzy and anger are her kids – innocent children. Is it acceptable to have a phalanx of photographers and journalists, to say nothing of jeering neighbours, waiting for her and her children at the school? While most people rightly call her a monster, there are three innocent children who call her mom.

By all means complain about the situation, but let’s give the kids a break. They will have enough to deal with when they grow up. Or do some of these people think it is fair to try to exact revenge on her children for her crimes? That would be twisted logic at best.

Too many innocent young lives have been affected – indeed snuffed out –  in this horrific episode. Shouldn’t we be trying to protect these kids?

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

UPDATED: Happy Birthday Montreal; Thanks For The Free Transit

Today marks the beginning of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. A whole summer of activities is planned and it all kicks-off today. I have written about my take on the festivities before. As a way of encouraging folks to participate, the Société de transport de Montréal will waive all bus and metro fares all day today. Yep, you can ride the system all day-long for free. A nice gesture.

… how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today.

Now call me a cynic if you will, but I am just wondering how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today. Everyone without a monthly pass is getting something for nothing today, but if you bought a monthly pass, you paid for 31 days of use. When in fact there are only 30 days when fares are charged this month.

I sense a class action lawsuit being launched, claiming two one-way fares  – or $6.50 – for every monthly pass sold. I imagine we are on the precipice of some lawyer getting his or her name in the media by suggesting this. Hardly in keeping with the spirit of the gesture.

Happy Birthday Montreal!

UPDATE: The answer to how long it will take for someone to publicly bitch is … drum-roll please … one week!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Seeking Expo 67 Artist

During the many trips to EXPO 67 fifty years ago as a seven year old child I had the opportunity to stock-up a lifetime of interesting experiences. On one such occasion my aunt, with whom I made most of my visits, had me sit for a portrait sketch. She would subsequently have the sketch framed and present it to my mother as a gift. The portrait still hangs in my mother’s apartment.

The artist was a woman if my memory is correct, who signed her work Milligan 67. I imagine she, and others, produced hundreds is not thousands of sketches during the fair’s run. I have tried to see what became of Milligan after 1967. Is she still around? Still sketching? Or did she, like many artists, have to abandon her talent for a ‘real’ job so she could pay the bills.

In this anniversary year I thought I would publish the portrait and bring this story to light just in case Milligan is still out there.  And if I do not succeed, at least I have provided my readers with a sketch of a real cute kid, about which I have no qualms! I wonder where he went!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+